KEY POINTS

  • Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., has threatened to obstruct relief bill vote
  • Massie may ask for a roll-call vote, forcing representatives to return to Washington
  • President Trump has accused Massie of wanting "publicity"
  • Trump also tweeted that Massie should be ejected from the Republican Party

President Donald Trump blasted a Republican congressman over his threat to block a bill aimed at providing economic relief to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In a morning tweet on Friday, Trump accused Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., of being a “third rate grandstander.”

After the Senate approved a $2.2 trillion stimulus on Thursday, the bill heads to the House for a vote before moving on to Trump’s desk. Massie, however, has said that he is considering voicing an objection that would force the House to conduct a roll-call vote. Originally a voice vote had been planned; now, a number of representatives are scrambling to return to Washington to make the vote.

Trump claimed Massie “just wants the publicity” after the congressman threatened to derail the bill. Trump appeared frustrated, pointing out that the White House gave up “some stupid things” to get the bill and that Massie should be “out of the Republican Party!”

The president then followed up with another tweet in which he accused Massie of “empowering the Radical Left Democrats” and helping their “War on the 2nd Amendment.” Massie is a chairman on the House Second Amendment Caucus, a conservative group focused on gun control issues.

Massie has previously voiced his opposition to the coronavirus relief bill, expressing concerns over the impact it will have on the national debt. He has said that American taxpayers will pay the costs “eventually” and won’t necessarily reap the benefits of a stimulus.

As an increasing number of states are asking their residents to practice “social distancing” and have even issued quarantine orders, Americans are losing work at an unprecedented rate. Unemployment numbers posted Thursday showed that 3.3 million people have lost their jobs, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As an increasingly frustrated Trump attempts to grapple with a tanking economy, his administration is considering any and all measures to reinvigorate businesses and get Americans back to work. While the pending stimulus bill is expected to lead to households getting up to $1,200 per adult, the president is also pushing for stay-at-home orders be eased by Easter. Health officials, however, have said that such a time frame may be wishful thinking.

Trump drew criticism for scheduling a rally in South Carolina with the coronavirus crisis deepening Trump drew criticism for scheduling a rally in South Carolina with the coronavirus crisis deepening Photo: AFP / Nicholas Kamm